How did we end up here??…
Thinking about the decisions that had led me to this moment is a rather nostalgic affair. I wasn’t always destined to be academic, especially not in a STEM subject – during primary school I generally thrived in school, I became completely mystified when an experiment would provide accurate results, just like those that we read about in books. Secondary school was slightly different – becoming bored quickly the novelty wore off with the repetitive nature of copying off the board. I jumped straight into work at the first opportunity, working in customer service for some of the biggest names in the UK. A decade later, here we are, after realising my true passion is mathematics and solving problems – I chose to embark on the MEng degree with the Open University, choosing maths route (queue swooney music!!).
Hey, I love your transcript!
After starting with four generic Engineering modules with The Open University and gaining a CertHE, my confidence has rocketed, Elon Musk was calling me he was so jealous :-). Now midway through year two and the DipHE I’ve been able to choose my ‘route’, ahh beautiful mathematics – each week its becoming increasingly more challenging but the change can be seen in almost every aspect of life. For some odd reason, I am now much more orderly in everyday life, thinking methodically about almost everything from packing the fridge to cleaning my car. Postgraduate modules start next year, am I prepared NO not yet anyway!! But I’m excited at what they’ll bring.
Engineering for the win.
Everyone needs an engineer, every aspect of life requires engineering of some variety – its a real great problem solving qualification. There are no limits to what can be done with it, it gets my vote all day long. Having a general idea of the principles that govern how things interact (not humans, I’m pretty bad at that) and knowing what to expect when experiments are performed is really just inspiring in itself. I want to work hard over my career to break down some misconceptions around Engineering and what a day-to-day life is as an engineer, yes it’s quite complicated to learn but there is no time limit!
Challenges as a woman?
Only 11% of the current UK Engineering workforce is female, a truly staggering figure! It’s been an interesting transition from customer service positions into engineering positions. The most challenging mindset that I, as a woman in engineering encounters, is the assumption that I’m not capable simply because I’m female. It isn’t always obvious and crude, a draining aspect of it is to constantly have to convince someone that you are trustworthy and that your advice is correct. The “ are you sure?” or “I don’t agree with you, let me talk to someone else” when I may have more relevant qualifications & this is my job to know – someone pays me to know this information. A message to other women in STEM – you’re not alone. A message to men in STEM – please only judge us on ability.
Written by: Tiffany Roberts